Producing enough food for a rapidly growing population, and taking care of our planet are two of the world's biggest challenges.
Displaying 21-30 of 30 key documents
Source: Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências | September 2008
This paper discusses ways of reconciling the Millennium Development Goals with environmental sustainability. Using an example from Brazil — the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) — the authors examine why researchers aiming to produce sound scientific understanding to support sustainable development often fall short.
Translating knowledge created by the LBA project into public policies proved difficult. The authors blame this failure on resource limitations, weak institutions and scientists' inexperience in applying science to real situations.
They suggest that establishing centres of excellence in developing regions is a necessary first step to creating a bottom-up approach to sustainability that includes innovative ways of assessing ecosystem services. These centres must be able to effectively use and produce applications-directed research and bring it to bear on decision-making related to environmental change and sustainable management of natural resources, say the authors.
Source: WMO Bulletin | July 2007
This paper discusses likely future changes in tropical cyclones, questioning whether they will become more intense following higher sea surface temperatures. The author outlines the different approaches currently taken to climate modelling and discusses the results of characterising current and future climate using the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg model, comparing them to observations.
Most climate models predict stronger tropical cyclones in a warmer climate, as an increase in latent heat provides more energy for the storms. But the author claims there is less evidence for a reduction in the frequency of storms in a warmer climate. Still, such a reduction could result from a general weakening of large-scale atmospheric circulation (which reduces the number of cyclones) caused by the rapid increase in water vapour that would follow a rise in global temperatures.
Source: Biotechnology Journal | September 2007
The way discussions about biotechnology are framed is also dealt with, concluding that innovative, new techniques are required to create a rational dialogue with the public.
Source: International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR) | 2005
Innovation systems perspectives on agricultural research and technological change are fast becoming a popular approach to the study of how society generates, disseminates, and utilises knowledge. It provides an opportunity to study and explore complex relationships between the many agents and institutions that make up an innovation system. Early applications of the innovation systems framework to developing-country agriculture suggest opportunities for more intensive and extensive analysis.
This paper analyses these applications and suggests several ways of strengthening the mode of inquiry and quality of analysis. This paper will be of interest to science and technology policy analysts and policymakers in developing countries seeking to apply innovative concepts to agriculture.
Source: Production of Vaccines from Applied Crop Sciences | 2005
This document's authors say the development of plant-derived vaccines is straightforward, and that their production could "easily and economically be established in developing countries".
Drawing on consultations with international experts, they examine the elements needed to realise the advantages of plant-derived vaccines for developing countries, emphasising the need for public–private collaboration.
An important requirement, they say, would be to effectively keep drug-producing transgenic plants out of the food supply. How the plant material is processed, packaged and stored is also important.
The document provides an overview of these and other issues, and will be useful to policy analysts, entrepreneurs and decision-makers exploring the potential of plant-derived vaccines.
Source: Centre for Climate and Environmental Research Oslo (CICERO) | November 2001
This CICERO working paper focuses on policy issues associated with carbon sinks and provides a good overview of the potential and costs involved in implementing the land use, land use change and forestry options under the Kyoto Protocol.
After a brief background section on the relevant articles of the Protocol, the paper estimates the capacity of the world’s forests for carbon uptake, and projects the associated costs of doing so. While the paper reveals significant variations between the gain and cost, it is suggested that sequestration projects in developing countries are far less expensive than in the North.
This accessible paper includes some technical details on methods for carbon accounting. It also provides a useful section on the outcomes and implications of climate negotiations.
Source: Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology | July 2002
In 2002, the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology held a conference bringing together representatives from the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and food industries, government regulators, scientists and public interest groups to consider the use of transgenic plants as cost-effective "biofactories" for producing pharmaceuticals.
Participants considered the possible risks posed to human and animal health and the environment, by the potential for cross-pollination between pharma crops and wild relatives or crops destined for food or feed. The conference also looked at the steps being taken by the biotechnology industry and US government regulators to control these risks, and discussed whether these are sufficient, both to address the risks and to secure public confidence.
Some insights were particularly relevant to developing countries. Whereas scientists once expected to see the development of pharma crops that could be consumed directly by people (e.g. "edible vaccines"), the need to ensure correct dosage and quality control means that some level of processing will be necessary. This, together with the need for rigorous regulation and effective segregation of pharma crops, will place high demands on technical capacities and regulatory agencies in developing countries.
Source: United Nations University / INTECH | July 2003
In this paper - which is targeted at national-level policy makers - the author explores the complex issue of traditional knowledge protection, and deems its protection to be necessary on utilitarian grounds.
The author argues that attempts to define traditional knowledge (TK) should focus on demarcating the nature of contribution that such knowledge could have to industrial research and development. The emphasis on the nature of the information itself serves as the best parameter of what the limits of "community/communities" are, and what sort of knowledge ought to be protected and made contractible through an intellectual property right.
The most effective options to protect traditional medicinal knowledge - the focus of the paper - appear to be those of trade secrecy or a system of community intellectual property rights. Categories of TK that do not fall within such criteria could be documented into databases to prevent third parties from claiming patents on already existing knowledge.
But a well defined right is only the first step in empowering communities. A large onus rests on the design of institutions that will put this right into an enforceable framework. These institutions would have two tasks: to represent communities effectively and to provide rules of contract formation that take into account the difficulties of dealing with information as a resource. The author acknowledges that the effective operation of such institutions may not be at all easy to achieve.
Source: Geoff Tansey | February 1999
The author draws on various perspectives presented in the literature on intellectual property rights, food, farming, biodiversity, and the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and related agreements. He highlights the policy questions for developing countries by TRIPS, examines the key ethical, economic, environmental and social issues surrounding its provisions, and considers the possible contributions of overseas development assistance.
The report concludes that the TRIPS agreement could either undermine food security and biodiversity or enhance it, depending upon the relative effects of the various provisions — the costs and benefits are not clear cut nor are they likely to be equally distributed. The author recommends that until the influence of intellectual property rights on agriculture and biodiversity are better understood, flexibility within the TRIPS agreement should be retained. The paper is written for policy makers, primarily in developing countries, in agriculture, environment and trade and those responsible for ensuring policy coherence across government departments.
The report concludes that the TRIPS agreement could either undermine food security and biodiversity or enhance it, depending upon the relative effects of the various provisions — the costs and benefits are not clear cut nor are they likely to be equally distributed. The author recommends that until the influence of intellectual property rights on agriculture and biodiversity are better understood, flexibility within the TRIPS agreement should be retained.
The paper is written for policy makers, primarily in developing countries, in agriculture, environment and trade and those responsible for ensuring policy coherence across government departments.
Source: The Royal Society, | July 2000
This report outlines the conclusions and recommendations of an international expert working group. Representatives from the national academies of sciences in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, the UK, and the USA, and the Third World Academy of Sciences came together to consider GM technology in a global context, and its possible impacts on food security, public health and the environment.
The authors recognise a role for GM technology in the production of food that is more nutritious and stable in storage, and that might enable the delivery of specific health advantages to consumers. Such technologies, they argue, should be made freely available to farmers in developing countries.
The report calls for cooperative efforts between the public and private sectors to develop GM-derived technologies that will benefit consumers worldwide, and argues that governments should set up suitable public health regulatory systems to ensure that food derived from this technology is as safe as that derived from non-GM methods. In addition, the authors recommend a thorough investigation of any environmental impacts, both positive and negative, of the cultivation of GM crops as compared with conventional agriculture.
A balanced and informative report with a global perspective, with particular emphasis on the needs developing nations.